The Unexpected Duchess
Author: Valerie Bowman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of Publication: April 29, 2014
IN THIS BATTLE OF WITS
Lady Lucy Upton’s tongue may be too sharp to attract suitors but her heart is good, and when her painfully shy friend Cassandra needs help she devises a brilliant scheme to help her discourage an unwanted suitor, the Duke of Claringdon. Lucy will hide behind the hedgerow and tell Cass just what to say to discourage the Duke of Claringdon…but it turns out that he’s made of sterner stuff than either of them anticipated. And Lucy is shocked to discover that tangling with the tenacious man is the most fun she’s had in ages.
KISSES ARE THE BEST WEAPON
Lord Derek Hunt made a promise to his dying friend to marry the demure Cassandra, and for a man who wants nothing more than peace and quiet after the horrors of war, she’ll make the perfect bride. If only the impudent Miss Upton will let him court the girl! Doing battle is the last thing on his mind, but bantering with Lucy behind the bushes is too tempting to resist. And in The Unexpected Duchess, the spoils of this war just may be true love…
The first thing I thought as I read the earliest pages of this book was it was a clever take on the old Cyrano de Bergerac, though it quickly evolved beyond simply giving someone else the words to say in the case of Lucy and Derek.
This, like so many recent reviews, is going to be short. I liked how the love between Lucy and Derek blossomed over the course of the book. It was nice to see a duke who hadn’t been born and raised a duke or in any way part of the nobility. He genuinely earned the title. It was also refreshing to see a woman who’d totally screwed up her presentation to the queen be able to come back and get a second chance when she goes before the queen to get approval to marry Derek (because apparently approval of spousal choice could affect Derek’s new title).
I’m not sure about Cassandra and her love of her soldier, especially since he’s very specifically promised to someone else, but it speaks well of her loyalty to him. I was glad to see some of her fluffheadedness wasn’t entirely what it seemed as well.
Overall, an enjoyable read. I like Ms. Bowman’s style and will gladly read other books by her in the future. Four stars!
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Also in fair disclosure, Ms. Bowman is a chaptermate in First Coast Romance Writers, and the name was part of the reason I selected this book to read and review. It did not in any way influence my opinion of the book.